Charles Baur, Alsace PInot Blanc 2011, France
Alsace, perched high in the northeast corner of France, is not only one of Europe's most northerly wine producing regions, but one that has had a fascinating and checkered history. Sharing a border with Germany around the main city of Strasbourg, the much fought-over territory has swapped ownership back and forth between Germany and France over centuries. And there is much that is Germanic about the wines, including the use of typically German grape varieties like Riesling and Gewurztraminer, and the tall 'flute' bottles that are so reminiscent of wines from the Mosel or Rheingau.
But the interpretation of the wines is strictly French, meaning that they are generally more full-bodied, tend to be dry (though there as superb sweet wines in Alsace too), and are always food-friendly. This wine comes from a small, family owned and run domaine and is a lovely example of Pinot Blanc, a variety that does not always sing out with aroma and flavour, but which the Baur's have fashioned into a delightful and characterful wine. The nose offers a glimpse of exotic fruit, of mango and lychee, but a certain citrus brightness of orange and lime too. In the mouth it has a bit of weight and texture with 13% alcohol, but it remains very fresh and clean, again hinting at exotic, lightly smoky qualities, but really focused on the crispness and clarity of its line of fruit and acidity. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas. It costs £12.95 from a company called Ten Acre Wines (ten-acre.com) and they will take 10% off this and all wines from Charles Baur until the end of May 2014. Quote baur10 at checkout.